"Train up a child in the way he should go…"

Caution! Numerous loud obscenities.

A teenager sits down in front of his mother, and announces to her that he is an Atheist. Her reaction is to announce that, henceforth, the family will start attending church every week.

The boy reiterates his disbelief, to which his mother counters that he was “confirmed” in the presence of “the Bishop” as some sort of irrefutable claim. As a Protestant, I cannot help but find a small theological amusement in this.

“A lot can happen,” the boy responds and seems to start to explain something of what led him to this view – when his mother angrily interrupts with a rather clumsy attempt to belittle her son`s stance. “All of a sudden you can just quit believing in God?” she asks.

Yes. Yes you can. Especially if the depth of your faith consists of a brief catechistic rite that took place when you are barely old enough to think and reason.

I do not wish to make light of this episode, and I do not feel any of the raucous mirth that accompanied the sending of this video to me by a familiar of mine.

Foolish, irresponsible, and painful – yes, but hardly the stuff of playful jest. I can only wonder at what would follow such an exchange between a mother and a son…

…and what of the man who sits so idly by while all this is taking place? Surely he is not the father, to have so little control over his own household. `Tis curious.

Despite the exaggerated tone of this display, which would incline one into thinking it a clever parody, I find it all too true to form – consonant with my own experiences as well as those with whom I have known.

We would think that we can barter with the Almighty, that we would negotiate Grace and force His acquiescence to a covenant of our own devisings… but it is now as it has always been: the Just shall live by Faith.

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